This week President Obama took unilateral executive action — again — to change the nation's immigration laws. Almost no one noticed.
Obama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay.
Companies who transfer workers to the U.S. through an L-1B visa have to show that those workers bring some sort of "specialized knowledge" to the job — that is, they have particular knowledge that would be hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere in the United States. Obama plans to broaden the definition of "specialized knowledge" so much that it could conceivably used to cover just about any foreign worker a company wants to bring here.
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